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[ODDS and EVENS] Title-Chasing Swallows Show Last Season's Success Was No Fluke

Led by slugger Munetaka Murakami, closer Scott McGough, overall pitching depth and strong managerial leadership, Yakult won its second straight pennant.



The Tokyo Yakult Swallows react to Kazuya Maruyama's walk-off double and Central League pennant-clinching victory over the Yokohama DeNA BayStars on September 25 at Jingu Stadium. (ⒸSANKEI)

This article first appeared on SportsLook, JAPAN Forward’s dedicated sports website.

What does it take for a pro baseball team to avoid a championship hangover the year after winning it all?

Start with the following as building blocks for continued success:

A manager who instills confidence in his players even after they’ve reached the metaphorical mountaintop. 

A dynamic power-hitting slugger who can carry the offense.

A dominant closer who puts the finishing touches on victory after victory.


Ladies and gentlemen, a noteworthy reminder: Shingo TakatsuMunetaka Murakami and Scott McGough, respectively, fill these irreplaceable roles for the 2022 Central League pennant-winning Tokyo Yakult Swallows.

Yakult secured its second straight regular-season league title with a 1-0 win over the Yokohama DeNA BayStars on Sunday, September 25. Kazuya Maruyama provided the late-game drama with a walk-off double with one out in the ninth inning at Jingu Stadium.

When it was over, Takatsu, who’s in his third season at the helm, took a break during the euphoric celebrations to sum up what the Swallows’ achievement means to him.

Read the full story on SportsLook.

Author:  Ed Odeven

Follow Ed on JAPAN Forward's [Japan Sports Notebook] here on Sundays, in [Odds and Evens] here during the week, and Twitter @ed_odeven, and find him on JAPAN Forward’s dedicated sports website, SportsLook.

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